Dr. Marshall Cahill is the director of a government institute that employs various scientific geniuses, including the elderly Dr. Nicholson, who knows that Cahill's son Neil has plagiarized a dead man's theory of molecular structure. When Nicholson threatens exposure, Dr. Cahill murders him and cleverly makes the killing look like the job of a heroin junkie who needed his fix. But clever or not, another kind of genius is on the case: the rumpled, redoubtable Lt. Columbo. Written by
Perhaps the most unusual "guest star" in the entire "Columbo" series is the robot who is programmed to provide Marshall Cahill with his alibi. Robby the Robot is best known for having starred in the Sci-Fi classic Forbidden Planet (1956) directed by Fred M. Wilcox, as well as in "The Twilight Zone". See more »
In the "home garage laboratory", there is a shelf of chemical containers marked with their respective formulas. The formulas are written incorrectly. See more »
Dr. Marshall Cahill:
Right now you are in an institution where any staff member, including your little friend Steve, will tell you that a theory isn't worth a damn unless it can be proved.
It's the same way at the institute that I work at, Doctor.
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MIND OVER MAYHEM is a Columbo story with a psychological twist: the murder takes place in the surroundings of a think tank for genius scientists, mathematicians, and researchers, so our crumpled detective must pit his wits against the best of them in his hunt for the truth. The guest villain is none other than Jose Ferrer, who might well be the least physically imposing bad guy in the whole of Columbo's history, but whose acting is of a superior standard.
I think it's fair to comment that MIND OVER MAYHEM is a fairly ordinary mystery for our detective to solve. Ferrer's character is interesting but the plot events are largely boring and the tale is overly familiar, so much so that you start forgetting the details just hours after watching. However, the comedy scenes remain superior, especially those involving the inimitable Dog. My favourite scene is Columbo's dialogue with boy genius Steven Spelberg (sic). Watch out for Robby the Robot's cameo too.
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